Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  06/08/2020
Date Climbed:   06/07/2020
Author:  EJDenver
 Mt. Elbert - East Ridge   

Spring 14er #2!!

We started early, 2:45am, and it was roughly 45 degrees out and completely clear. The stars and moon made for some really beautiful hiking and the trail was fairly clear so hiking by headlamp was easy. We encountered 4 downed trees between the 4WD trailhead and treeline but they are easy enough to go over/under.

Moonlight over the ridge

We were above treeline for sunrise - which was the purpose of getting up so darned early to do this hike!

Sunrise over the valley

Once above treeline the trail continues at a gradual incline until you reach a boulder where they appear to be building a new trail. The trail gets steeper here but is still not very technical.

Steeper bit of trail above treeline

There was a good bit of snow to traverse throughout the hike, some within the treeline, more above tree line.

In one snowy area we lost the trail entirely and spent some time trying to pick our way carefully along rocks to not damage any alpine vegetation while trying to find the trail again. We had followed in others footsteps while traversing the snow but the trail didn't pick up on the other side. It turns out we stayed a bit too high while crossing the snow -- which we found out on the way down.

There's still a decent bit of snow on Mount Elbert

Most of the snow was packed down and there were footsteps to follow in, so it was easy to traverse in trail runners and trek poles for balance.

Summit views

The summit was windy and we did not stay long, though there were no storms forecasted for the day. On a calm day this is likely a gorgeous spot to have a snack, but we were freezing. If the forecast calls for wind, expect a dramatic temperature drop from the trailhead to the peak and bring layers.

Wind shelter at the top

There are stacked rocks forming a small sheltered area at the peak to hide from the wind for a few minutes prior to descending. As the day warmed up and we found the snow patches again, many had started to soften up and become more slippery. Glissading became a fun option for some of the decent, but there is not enough snow left to ski down.

Some alpine flowers have started blooming, adding to the beautiful scenery.

Pretty Purple guys


Most of the hike below tree line was straight forward, clear, and gorgeous.

Spring aspens

Clear Dirt trail

All in all a beautiful day.

Pack extra layers if it's forecast to be windy.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Good morning!
06/13/2020 07:24
Beautiful! We came past you coming down as we were going up and wondered how stinkin' early you must have started to already be finishing. Question answered! Thanks for sharing!

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